Hyundai And Kia Move Closer To Settling Fuel Economy Lawsuits

Korean automakers could pay as much as $395 million to affected consumers

Thirteen months after a government investigation revealed Hyundai and Kia Motors had overstated the fuel economy of thousands of cars sold in the United States, the two automakers have proposed a settlement.

The two South Korean automakers announced earlier this week they would pay up to $395 million to settle claims.

Kia and Hyundai owners have three main options under the settlement proposal. They could receive an annual payment that helps offset their increased cost of gasoline, opt for a one-time lump-sum payment or receive dealership credit.

Numbers vary on the lump sum for each affected motorists, because the payment is based on gas prices and miles driven. But the average Hyundai owner is expected to receive $353 and the average Kia owner $667 under the lump-sum plan.

The settlement could be approved by a federal judge in early 2014.

"The proposed settlement enhances our goal of making things right for our customers by providing new reimbursement options," said John Yoon, an executive vice president with Kia Motors.

In November 2012, an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the sister companies had inflated the fuel economy numbers on 13 different models by as much as six miles per gallon. U.S. consumers had purchased approximately 900,000 of the affected cars.

As gas prices have fluctuated in recent years, fuel economy has been a primary consideration for car buyers, which makes accurate numbers all the more important.

Approximately 53 federal lawsuits were filed against the companies, and eventually they were consolidated into a single case in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Hyundai and Kia said the overstatements were not intentional, and that they occurred as a result of a procedural error at a testing facility. Hyundai could pay as much as $210 million, and Kia $185 million, in the proposed settlement.

Affected Hyundai vehicles have included the Azera, Accent, Genesis, Santa Fe, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster. Kia vehicles include the Optima Hybrid, Rio, Sorento, Soul and Sportage.

Preliminary details from the settlement are available at and, where customers can also calculate the amount they can expect to receive.

Pete Bigelow is an associate editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.

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